Tag Archives: Love

Go…wherever you are called, just go!

go

Just a few short hours ago I was flying over the Black Sea leaving behind a 10-day experience in Odessa Ukraine.  In those 10 days I was part of an amazing group of teenagers seeking after God’s heart while serving the people of Ukraine.  We came along side our brothers and sisters in Ukraine to provide a Bible Camp to 70 children from villages around Odessa as well as refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in the Eastern part of the country.  God moved through that camp and in the end, several children accepted Christ as savior and forever changed their lives and eternal destiny.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve my Lord in this country, and am blessed beyond measure to have the chance to help lead our teenagers as they discovered the joys and challenges of foreign missions.

Derek Belcher - IMG_0940On the flight home, I was reading a book that has sobered me to a painful point in my life and made me look at my past Christian walk.  I have been heartbroken by the choices I have made and where my priorities have been.  There is so much more I could do for the Lord and so many opportunities I have lost.  But I remember the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13 – “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…”  God isn’t interested in what I haven’t done. He is focused on what I can do…today, tomorrow and the rest of my days.  In reading this book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, he made this statement: “Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples.  I wonder then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?  You’ll notice he didn’t add, “But hey if that’s too much to ask, tell them to become Christians – you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”Derek Belcher - IMG_1175

That’s powerful truth, staring you in the face. If you claim to be a follower of Christ then you have to be willing to go wherever he leads you.  We have one super simple job…teach others to follow Christ, so they can join our super simple job – teaching others to follow Christ.  This mission experience reaffirmed this simple call in my life.  I love foreign missions. It’s scary and exciting to visit a new place, to learn about their culture and see how God uses their different approach to life to accomplish His purpose, bring glory to His name and develop personal relationships with those that trust Him.  But my heart is burdened beyond that.  I realized, this week, and through reading the gospels and this book that the call is there for all of us, whether it be in a place like Ukraine or around the block in your neighborhood.  If we really want to call ourselves followers of Christ, true Christians, it’s time to open our eyes and answer the call to go.  Go to the local outreach, go on the short-term trip, go to the next county or state, go wherever God provides an opportunity to share His message of hope through Christ.  Just Go…wherever that may be…just Go!

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Father, I thank you again and again for your love and mercy in my life. I thank you for the grace we see in you, and for the indescribable love you show each of us everyday.  I thank you that you are not concerned with what I haven’t done, but with what I can do for you.  Make me the disciple you want me to be.  I pray that I will never miss the opportunity to Go!  In your name I pray – Amen.

Getting them to the starting line

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Last night, I was humbled as I heard the voice of a six-year old little girl answer the calling in her heart to accept Christ as her savior.  My daughter asked a million questions over the last few months, and you could certainly see that she was dealing with the question of “what do I do with Jesus?”.  In a simple moment, she made a decision to ask Jesus to save her from her sins and live in her heart.  In that moment, my heart melted.  I silently prayed a prayer of thanks to God for giving her to me and for convicting me with my parental responsibility to tell her all about Him.  As someone living in the millennial age, my next duty was to share it on social media.  I don’t post a lot, but I felt like screaming from the mountaintops.  The “likes” and comments flowed in and I beamed as I went to bed.  When I woke up this morning, I went through my social media again, and a comment caught my eye and it spoke to me so profoundly.  It was a simple “my heart is happy for you” and then a follow-up comment.  “Now the hard work continues…to train her…”.  I kept reading that over and over and it reminded me of my importance in her life – in the life of all my kids.  My job isn’t over.  Yes, we were able to lead her to this point where she realized her need for a savior and where she made a decision for eternity, but that’s just the starting line.

The Bible is very clear on the responsibility of parents, and especially fathers.  One of my favorite movies is Courageous.  It has a very clear story of a father coming to grips with tragedy only to learn what his real responsibility is concerning raising his children.  At the end of the movie he gives a speech where he emphatically answers questions, about who will lead his family and help his children grow in their walk with Christ, with a resounding “I will”.  In God’s word, I am charged with discipling my children and helping them grow in their lifelong walk with Christ.  It doesn’t just end with getting her to this point where she has accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation.  It continues to help her see what that means and what that opens up.  It continues as she learns about giving all areas of her life to Christ and committing to serving Him with her whole heart in all that she does.  It continues as she learns to love everyone the way Christ loves her.  It continues as she silently learns how she’ll raise her own children, leading them to the Lord and walking this same path with them.  I am so grateful for that comment to remind me of my importance in my children’s lives.

I studied Ephesians 6:4 this morning and found great delight and humbleness as I was reminded of the responsibility God has given me.  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  In this verse, God summarizes a lot of what he wants me to do as a father.  I am constantly butting heads with my 13-year-old because…well he knows everything.  I have always read this verse and thought, I need to be careful not to push his buttons so I don’t make him angry. That lasted all of about 10 seconds.  Reading that again today, and looking through the study notes in my Bible, I understand that it is not just keeping the peace, but being realistic.  I need to create a home where He can grow, learn, succeed and fail and it all be alright, because in the end, we love him unconditionally.  It should be that way with all our kids.  Ultimately, we want to model Christ, and there is no greater picture to model than what He did for all mankind on the cross.  My children will become angry when they get in trouble, but discipline is a key part of discipleship.  My job as a parent is to never stop learning and leaning on Christ and to be consistent as I model that behavior to my kids.  My expectations should be clear and based on my walk with Christ.  If I expect them to love the Lord, they have to see me loving the Lord as well – in all that I do.  I believe the best way to avoid provoking their anger and their resentment of Christ is to be consistent, forgiving and most of all in love with God.  The  last part of the verse is pretty easy to understand.  When I was a young child my parents told me about Christ.  They took me to church and they raised me on biblical standards.  That’s my job with my children.  I am called to impart on them the discipline and knowledge of the Lord so they will continue to honor Him as the generations before them have.  It’s getting harder and harder to see in our society, but that’s still the basic idea.  We are training the next generation so that people will continue to hear the good news of the gospel.

So, we are at the starting line and ready to run this race.  I am thankful that I know how the race will end, and I can already celebrate the victory.

Father, thank you for your son Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the perfect gift that satisfied my sin debt.  Thank you for extending that gift to my daughter.  I pray for your wisdom, strength, perseverance and courage to raise her to honor you, fear you, and most of all love you with all of her life.  Make me the man, husband, and father you want me to be for my family and all those in my life.  I pray for my daughter’s lifelong walk with you.  In Christ I pray – Amen.

One step away

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“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16)

The youth ministry that I work with has started a new series focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit.  It has been, like everything else, challenging for me to look deeper at my walk with the Lord.  We went “head on” with the idea of balancing our walk with Christ between legalism and reckless behavior.  Thinking about that balancing act has really “wrecked” me for lack of better words.  I have struggled to find the balance.  What is the balance?  I think the balance is to realize that I will never (at least not on this side of eternity) get complete away from recklessness.  I am a sinful human.  But I can’t just write it off and never try to do anything about it.  I can’t just expect to sin on a daily basis and be alright with it, because it’s out of my control.  I have to work at it – daily.

On the other side of that line is legalism.  Legalism stinks of me.  It’s all about what I am doing to earn favor with the Lord.  What I’m doing to try to make up for the recklessness.  Paul was pretty clear in Romans 3:10 – “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;”.  No one can earn the favor of God.  It’s not in us.  We are flawed from the beginning.  While it’s true, I can’t earn favor with God by anything I do, I can please Him by living for Him.  I can please Him by giving Him control.  I need to submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading of my life.  I’m not obeying the Holy Spirit because it’s going to get me “brownie” points, I am obeying the Holy Spirit because I want a close relationship with the one that gave his life for me.  I’m obeying His call to surrender my will, my desires to Him so that He can fill me with the desires that make me what He wants.

So back to the struggle.  Why do I struggle?  It seems pretty simple: listen to the Spirit and guard my heart against recklessness or habitual sinning.  I struggle because I am weak.  I struggle because I am human – and I forget that I am saved.  I struggle because I am a man and it’s inherent that we try to tough things out, go it alone, work for what we have.  I struggle because I lack the discipline to consciously yield to the Spirit while the flesh is on auto-pilot, always seeking a weak moment to strike. I struggle.  It has been a depressing few days as I have stewed over this, but today, through the Holy Spirit and God’s love for me, I have started to see and realize things God’s been teaching me all along.  The song One Step Away by Casting Crowns came up on my playlist earlier, and the words started to sink in.  One of the biggest ways the devil attacks me is through my guilt.  It’s the same cycle.  I fall and sin.  Then I feel guilty and I immediately start to think of how I need to make amends.  This gets me in the “me” train of thought and I start to ignore the holy spirit.  Before I know it, I have tripped up again, and I repeat.  It is the feeling of being chained to an endless cycle.  But these words just resonated in my heart today

So come on home, come on home

One step away from arms wide open
His love has never let you go

You’re not alone, You’re one step away

Lay down, lay down your old chains
Come now, take up your new name

We are blessed because He never leaves us if we have placed our trust in Him.  He is right there, one step away with arms wide open.  He’s just waiting on me to put down the chains that bind me and get back to simply loving Him, taking that one step forward, away from my past, walking in the new life He gave me the moment I trusted Him to save me.  I can find victory because the score is settled.  I can find peace in the leading of the Spirit.

Father, thank you for helping me to see that it’s all about your love and all about surrendering to that love.  The Christian life on this earth is not easy, and I’m pulled in many directions often, but your love for me has always been straight and perfect and your love for me knows no end.  You’re always one step away from me.  Thank you for your perfect love, thank you for the freedom I find in you, and thank you for the peace I have when I surrender to the spirit.  In your name I pray – Amen.

Lay down my life – am I ready?

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I have read several posts from fellow firefighters over the last couple months about “laying down my life” and “being willing to give it all” for the sake of someone else.  This is a popular theme among first responders.  While it’s not in the fine print, it’s an underlying thought that we all know is there.  The more I read these memes and posts, the more God has laid a burden on my heart to share the truth that should be paramount in that decision to “lay it all down”.  Are we ready?  I’m not asking if we are ready to give our life as in, “will I consciously choose my brother, sister’s or patient’s well-being over mine?”  Honestly, no one knows that answer until it is asked of them.  But the question I am asking is – Are you ready for what happens after you make that choice?

There are no guarantees in life.  There is no way to know where we are on God’s timetable.  As an ordinary human being the Bible paints an urgent picture to be “right with God”.  To make a decision, while we still can, for Jesus Christ.  James 4:13-15 paints a solid picture about the brevity of life and the need to live on purpose.  Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say,”If it is the Lords’ will, we will live and do this or that.”  It doesn’t get much clearer than that.  We don’t know.  Life is short.  It really is.  While we can’t live just for today or tomorrow, we certainly can’t put off decisions and actions thinking there will be time later.

My post, today, is directed at those that I serve with in first responder world.  It’s open for anyone and everyone, but those men and women are on my heart today.  I challenge you this – are you ready for what happens after you so bravely lay down your life?  Have you made a decision to trust Jesus with your eternal life?  If you haven’t made the choice, or if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I challenge you today to read on.

We are not perfect.  God is.  We do not measure up to His standard – which is perfection.  We can’t be with Him because we are imperfect sinners.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10).  This is hard to digest, because we can’t imagine in our mind that laying down are life wouldn’t be enough.  Can’t we become righteous for paying the ultimate sacrifice?  According to God’s word, we can’t save enough people, we can’t give enough, we can’t do anything enough to become acceptable to God.

Where did sin come from?  Why was I born this way?  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.  We are descendants of the first created being – Adam.  He sinned, and His perfection ended.  From that moment it was in his DNA and passed on to each generation.  The result of that sin is simple – death.  Adam and Eve were created to live forever, but God wants us to choose Him, so he gave them a choice.  Their choice had an outcome.  They chose to disobey God’s direction, and live for themselves, and their outcome was life that ultimately ends in death.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23).  Don’t miss the last part.  God didn’t create us to kill us.  He created us to be with Him.  That was the original design and it was perfect.  God doesn’t throw away His design, so He made a way.  That gift was His way that we can be together when our time here is up.

God shows us His never-ending mercy and love by giving the ultimate gift – Jesus Christ.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ came to this world for one purpose: to save us.  As a first responder, maybe you can relate in some way to that.  Maybe that is exactly why you chose to serve – to save.

God demonstrated his love by giving us Jesus who would live the life we couldn’t and die the death we deserved to satisfy the penalty that is rightly ours.  To show that his payment was sufficient, God raised Jesus up, giving him victory over death.  He put one requirement out there to get this free gift – believe.  That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)  God requires that we put our trust in what Christ did as the payment necessary for our sin.  In accepting that He is the payment, we also must believe that God accepted that payment on our behalf.

Worried about your past?  Don’t be. This gift has no prerequisites.  There is nothing we can do other than believe.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13).  It’s out there for everyone.  We just have to accept it.

Remember, we don’t know when God will call our name and our life will be over – here.  We, as first responders, have signed up to help others at all costs, even death.  While you may, so bravely, hold that commitment in your heart, I beg you to do it with the assurance that you have trusted Christ as your savior.

One side or the other

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I hate conflict.  Ask anyone that knows me.  I don’t like to argue to the point that I offend.  I often spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make everyone happy.  I would have been a good mediator – trying to find the best solution for both sides (so long as no one was mad at me at the end of the day).

From a personal perspective, it’s a dangerous line to walk.  Continuing on this idea of profiling a lukewarm lifestyle, trying to balance the line between Christ and the world is a dangerous game to play.  Someone with my personality tends to want to be accepted – no matter the cost.  That plays right into the next statement about the lukewarm

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.  They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they are care more about what people think of their actions then what God thinks of their hearts and lives.

Confession time.  I love my church.  I love the opportunity to serve God.  I feel alive when I am with other believers.  I feel like I can praise God without fear of having to defend it.  I can truly open up during worship and feel the love of my Savior.  Church is my “safe” place.  When I leave through the doors, something happens.  I tend to laugh at the wrong things.  I find myself agreeing with others when they make fun of something or someone.  I hear words come out of my mouth that are shameful.  I don’t say a word when someone takes the Lord’s name in vain, or even goes as far as to mock the Christian faith.  I fail to live for God when I am in the world.  That statement describes me in so many ways.

So what is the answer?  Do we just surround ourselves with like-minded believers and avoid those that may cause conflict within our heart?  I don’t think that’s the answer.  Jesus gave us all a great mission – tell everyone about me.  We are called to go out into the world and spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.  I think the answer is to simply live my life in a way that leaves no doubt about which side of the road I stand on.  I can be in this world, but not conformed to it.  In fact I am to be a shining light so that others may find Jesus through the life I live.  Does that mean I am the perfect example for others to follow?  Absolutely not, I am a sinner like every other person.  But I am called to live a life that reflects what Christ has done inside of me to overcome my sin problem.

Living for Christ means I am going to have to make tough choices, sometimes in the face of conflict.  It may cost me a friend, it may cost me a way of life.  I can be in this world, but I can’t conform to what this world says is right and acceptable.  Jesus stood in the midst of sinners, but He was never like them.  In the end, all that matters is what I did for Jesus.  He sees my inner most secrets, motives and desires.  It’s easy to put on the false face and “fit in” but I’m only fooling myself.  Christ knows my heart and what He thinks is eternally important.

Jesus was clear on what he thought about hypocrisy.  “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” (Matthew 23:5-7 NIV).

Jesus was describing an attitude of worrying more about what people in this world think of me, rather than having a heart that longs for Christ and letting that be what defines me. In the end, all that matters is what we did with Christ and for Christ.  I have given my life to Christ.  I am saved.  When I stand before Him, all my works will be judged by fire.  Only those things done for Christ will withstand, all else will be consumed and gone.  I don’t want to spend my whole life trying to gain the acceptance and approval of men, only to stand empty-handed before the Lord.

Lord, today I pray that you will change my perspective from worldly acceptance to eternal holiness.  I pray that your strength and courage will fill me when the choice seems difficult and that I’ll live a life that is focused on what you think.  In your name I pray – Amen.

New Year of “More”

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As the ball dropped on 2016…2017 opened with a sense of freshness.  Every new year is like this for me (except for Y2K – totally convinced everything would go black for a few minutes during that one).  I take a deep breath and, amidst the chaos of screaming teenagers, silently thank the Lord for another year to be alive.  Over the next couple days, I have prayed and thought about what this year could bring.  What do I want 2017 to be for me?  What do I want it to be for others because of me?  I came across a post from a great Godly woman who said, “this year will be the year of one-more’s”.  It was described as a year to reach deeper and farther into her faith, into her friends and family, into her neighbors.  One more dinner date, one more afternoon conversation, one more devotional, one more chapter in her Bible.  A year of one-more’s.

I think the Lord, used this post to speak to me, and help me understand what this year should bring.  Simply, more.  During our end-of-year celebration with our youth group, we had a one-day retreat focusing on defining a lukewarm Christianity and contrasting that with an obsessed Christian.  What an eye opener.  I found myself identifying with more and more characteristics of the lukewarm than I did with the obsessed.  It was eye-opening to think about what I am doing with Christ.  I made a decision to follow Him in faith, believing that He accomplished what I could not – paying my sin debt and saving my eternal soul.  But is that where it ended for me?  Looking back at the last 15 years, what I have I really done with Christ that is eternal and lasting?  Sure, I have served Him in many ways, but when that is compared to the ways I have run from Him, that list doesn’t really look that good.

So, I have resolved through much prayer to make this a year of “more” for my life.  More focus on the things that I am called to do as a believer.  More attention to the things that make me lukewarm.  More determination to take hold of what Christ so freely gave to me, so that I can live out more for Him.  More focus on the things that will last for eternity, not just the temporal now.  More faith that Christ can  use me in ways I don’t think possible and more willingness to let Him have control of all the parts of me.  More.

Father, I thank you for the blessing of life.  I thank you for your finished work on Calvary, your death for my sins, and your resurrection for my life.  Thank you for never leaving me, never putting me away, never taking your eye off me, even when I was so quick to do the same to you.  I pray for the courage to take hold of what you have given me and to use my gifts to make an eternal impact for you.  I also pray for the courage to open up my whole life to you, and give you all of me, regardless of the cost, for I know the cost is nothing compared to the reward of you.  In Jesus name – Amen.

Wait to Date

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Through my normal cruising of facebook today, I came across an article written by a staff blogger for www.desiringgod.org and found it to be so spot on.  One of my greatest concerns as a parent is how to raise my children to be more in love with Jesus Christ than anything else.  I want them to desire that relationship before all others.  Remembering my teenage years, I know that wasn’t the path that I took.  This article really highlights several good points.  So, I thought I would share it here.

Read: Wait to Date Until You Can Marry

The pebble in my shoe

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I know we have all been there.  Especially runners.  This is how it plays out for me:

I look outside and see the sun shining, a gentle breeze, and I begin to mentally prepare for it.  I slide my shoes on and they feel great, maybe even lighter today.  Phone strapped to my arm, ear buds in and comfortable.  A quick stretch or two to loosen up and get the blood flowing.  I step out on the porch and walk quickly – with a lighter step to the end of the driveway.  I look up the street and set my focus, hit start on my tracker and  begin to jog.  My steps feel great.  My core is tight and I am focusing on the first song.  In my playlist it’s a great song by Chris Tomlin called God’s Great Dance Floor.  I round the corner at the bottom of the street and I am feeling great.  It seems like no time and my tracker is proudly announcing the first mile is complete.  “That seemed faster today,” I think to myself.  Then it happens.  A slight discomfort in my right shoe.  Maybe it’s nothing…no there it is again.  Somehow I have picked up a pebble.  It’s rolling under the center of my foot on every stride.  Now my focus is elsewhere.  I don’t hear the music, I am locked in on the pain with each step. My mind begins to battle a little.  I can stop and fix it, quickly and keep going, but I have a great pace and I want to run from beginning to end.  I keep going, but the pebble is still there.  It feels like it is piercing my foot with each stride I take.  I have lost all focus on the world around me and can think of nothing else but that small pebble.

Every person reading this probably thinks the same thing.  Take the shoe off, shake out the pebble and keep running. That’s the logical thing to do.  You’re right.  It is.  But as this happened to me not too long ago, it made me think about my life in general, especially my Christian walk.  How many times have I let a pebble – some sin that keeps burrowing into my soul take my focus off Christ?  How often have I left that sinful pebble in my soul and tried to just deal with it on my own?  This happens more often than not.  My “I can do it myself” mentality takes me down a dark path and before I realize what happened, I can’t find God anywhere in my life.  Wouldn’t it be simpler for me to stop and get rid of the pebble?  Better yet, when that pebble seems more like a boulder, wouldn’t it be easier to rely on God’s ability to remove it from my life?  I was reminded of David when he fell for Bathsheba.  2 Samuel 11 paints a picture of a spiral out of control.  David sinned, first when he looked on this woman while she bathed, then taking her into his bed which resulted in pregnancy.  Reading through the passage, we see David losing all focus on the battle he was leading, and instead being consumed with trying to get out of the mess he had created.  Choose today to check your shoe before you run.  Finding the sinful traps in your life and praying for God’s strength to avoid or overcome them is the recipe for a closer walk with Christ.

Lord, today I am thankful for your love and mercy in my life.  I am thankful that you love your creation and willingly laid down your life so that I could have mine.  Thank you for never leaving me and for your power and strength over my sin nature.  I ask for your help in removing the pebbles that cause my focus to be turned from you.  I rejoice in your word and promise to always be by my side through this life.  In Christ I pray – Amen.

He’s got the whole world in His hand

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He’s got the whole world in his hand
He’s got the whole world in his hand
He’s got the whole world in his hand…

This song is a classic children’s song that we sing often in Sunday School or in the children’s nursery to convey that God has everything in His hand.  Simple idea, often not thought of again.  But have you every really stopped to think about the meaning behind those words?  I received an online devotion today entitled Holding it Together.  It referenced Colossians 1:16-17, among other scripture, but the idea was that God created it all…EVERYTHING, and that nothing is outside of his grasp, He holds it all together.

 

Look around you and think about how everything that you can see fits together.  Then, if you can, try to wrap your mind around how things that are unseen, are still working in unison and perfect harmony with what you can see.  Our minds are not capable of understanding the depth and breadth of our universe and how it is all held together.  Science has spent hundreds of years trying to explain it and learn about it, yet they can only get so far.  We have been able to dissect the atom, which is a marvelous feat in itself.  Inside this tiny particle are many more parts and pieces and we have names for almost all of them, and we understand how they work and relate to each other, but that is generally where it stops. There is still the “God particle” that has yet to be discovered.  For a believer, we know what that particle is, it is clearly defined in God’s word, Colossians 1:16-17.  At the end of verse 17 – He holds all creation together.  I find it amusing that some will spend their entire life to find that one thing that is right in front of them.  Think of what science could turn it’s attention to if it went like this:

1. We are made up of atoms
2. Inside those atoms are particles
3. God holds those particles together
4. Then end.

That is where my thoughts took off today.  Why is it so hard for someone to rely on the unseen, the unheard, the “beyond understanding”?  It’s faith.  It’s simple faith.  Kids have it.  I don’t know when we lose it as we grow older, but their faith is amazing.  If only we could maintain our child-like faith as we grew older, how much closer to God would we all be and as a result, what would this world look like?

All of this thinking brought my mind back to current events and the uncertainty of the future of our country and this world.  As an adult, these things occupy my mind more and more.  Not so much because I am worried about how it will turn out.  I know the ending.  I read the Bible.  Totally full of spoilers.  But as a parent, with that God-given love for my children, I am consumed with the type of world they are growing up in and the challenges they are and will continue to face.  Sometimes thinking along this line can cause us to panic and stress.  When that happens, I am taken back to this simple verse in Colossians.  “He has the whole world…universe in His hands.  He holds it all together and He will continue to do so until that day when we, that know Him as our personal savior, are called home and He simply “lets go”.

Remember this today.  We do not have to worry about tomorrow. We simply need to place our trust in the God that works all things for His glory.  He loves us.  We were created by His hands in His image.  He is perfect and He created us perfectly.   I have heard before that believing in God and trusting in Jesus to save us is the “easy way out” to give up and quit thinking, become a mindless robot.  As a growing christian, I can say with all certainty that believing and continuing to trust everyday is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I am human.  I want to have a sense of control.  It’s natural.  But I love my God, the creator of this universe and everyday He fills me with the gentle peace of knowing He is in control and nothing is beyond Him.

Lord, thank you for being You.  Thank you that You are in control and that You hold this all together.  Thank you for strengthening my faith on a daily basis and for forgiving me when my faith falls away.  I am forever yours and find comfort and hope in Your word.  I am thankful today that “holding all creation” includes me.  Help me to be a light and shine for your glory today.  In Christ – Amen.

Everywhere

everywhere

When I was younger…much younger, I had a job at a fast food establishment.  It was my first job and I poured myself into it, at first.  I had a bit of a work ethic problem growing up, but that is an entirely different post.  It was during this job that I had an awful experience with being surrounded and overwhelmed by grease.  Now, I know the first thought is “that is to be expected, you were working fast food.” However, this wasn’t just the normal greasiness of fast-food.  In the back of the restaurant we had commercial fryers.  There were three deep wells that held quite a bit of cooking oil.  A nightly procedure was to drain the fryers and clean each well.  It was pretty simple.  There was a reservoir under the counter that was big enough to hold one well at a time.  You pulled a lever, drained the fryer well into the reservoir and proceeded to scrub the empty well.  Then you closed the lever and proceeded to refill the well from the reservoir.  On this particular night we had a very eager new employee that wanted to show he was willing to go above and beyond.  He was striving to show that not only would he do anything, but he would do it quicker than anyone else. His chore: clean the fryer wells.  He had been taught and executed the first well perfectly.  He pulled the lever and the oil began draining.  He then went to the next well, pulled that lever and then the next well.  That’s right, he drained three wells into a reservoir meant to hold ONE!  What happened next was we found the entire back side of the kitchen covered in 1-2 inches of used fryer oil.  It was EVERYWHERE.  That night, we cleaned for at least 4-5 hours to try and contain the spill, remove the residue, and restore the kitchen to its original state.  For weeks we found remnants of oil from one end of the store to the other.  I don’t know that it was every completely contained and cleaned up.

That story came to mind today as I was reading a devotion that focused on God’s omnipresence.  The author recounts the story of Moses and his interaction with God in the burning bush.  Moses wasn’t seeking God to worship Him, or to talk with Him, he was going about his day.  Where God was, I would imagine, was the last thing on Moses’s mind.  For nearly 40 years, his days had been the same, mundane almost.  Had God not showed up in the burning bush, He may not have gotten his attention because he wasn’t being sought after.  The point is that we need to recognize that God is everywhere.  He is everywhere at one time, always.  This attribute, when understood, will produce in us a constant worship.  Just like the oil finding its way into every nook and cranny of that building, so should God be able to have access and be in every part of my being.  When I focus on God and find Him in all the details of my life, I will be more likely to remember who He is and how He deserves my constant worship; not because of what He has done for me today, but simply because HE IS.

Lord, thank you for how You are always there.  You never leave me.  Just as the Psalmist said, “where can I go that you are not there?”  The answer is nowhere.  I pray that I will keep my heart open throughout the day and focused on You.  I pray that your spirit will encourage me in all areas of my life today.   Thank you for How you love me and I pray that I give you the reverence and worship that you deserve.  – Amen.

Reading Today: Psalm 139:7-12